Champion Data reveals every AFL club’s elite-ranked players entering season 2021
Champion Data reveals every AFL club’s elite-ranked players entering season 2021

Revealed: Every A-grader at your AFL club

Roll out the red carpet.

Champion Data has crunched the numbers to reveal every club's A-list players.

So, which clubs top the list with the most A-graders? According to Champion Data, there are five clubs each boasting five elite players based on their 2020 player ratings.

Only one club had no A-grade players and four clubs had just one player with an elite rating.

Each player must have played a minimum of five matches and the rating is relevant to the players' position.

Read on to see who the A-graders are at your club.

 

 

ADELAIDE

 

Elite players: None

 

After a forgettable season when the club only won three games, the Crows are the only team in the league without an A-lister, having had three the previous year - Rory Sloane and the now departed Cameron Ellis-Yolmen and Hugh Greenwood.

But they did have seven players with an above average rating.

The Crows are in a rebuilding phase so are devoid of top-end talent.

Sloane is in the twilight of his career, but they could expect young leader Tom Doedee to take the step in coming years from his above average ranking to the elite level.

 

 

Adelaide will be hoping young guns Tom Doedee and Riley Thilthorpe will become elite players, and that Matt Crouch can return to his best. Picture: Matt Turner
Adelaide will be hoping young guns Tom Doedee and Riley Thilthorpe will become elite players, and that Matt Crouch can return to his best. Picture: Matt Turner

 

BRISBANE

 

Elite players: Five - Daniel Rich, Harris Andrews, Lachie Neale, Jarryd Lions, Hugh McCluggage

 

After their preliminary final run in 2020, the Lions have emerged as one of five teams with the most A-grade players in the league.

Headlined by Brownlow medallist Lachie Neale, who had an elite ranking for disposals, kicks, handballs, marks and total clearances in a standout 2020, the Lions' group of elite talent rose from three in 2019.

The Lions also have a further six players with an above average ranking, including the likes of Cam Rayner and Charlie Cameron, who could easily make the leap to elite.

With the addition of key forward Joe Daniher the cherry on top of what is already one of the most exciting lists in the league, the Lions' time to roar is now.

 

Brownlow Medallist Lachie Neale is a star of the competition. Picture: Michael Klein
Brownlow Medallist Lachie Neale is a star of the competition. Picture: Michael Klein

 

CARLTON

 

Elite players: Three - Adam Saad, Zac Fisher, Sam Walsh

 

He's the club's biggest star, but after playing banged up with a hurt shoulder for parts of last year, Patrick Cripps has lost his "elite" status based on his 2020 player rating.

The Carlton co-captain is one of 10 Blues players rated above average, slipping from his elite ranking in 2019.

But the arrival of former Bomber Adam Saad has ensured Carlton retained the same number of A-listers from the previous season.

The running defender, who boasted an elite ranking for disposals and metres gained last season, joins Zac Fisher and young midfield star Sam Walsh as the Blues' A-graders based on their 2020 rating.

Fisher met the minimum five-game qualifier with eight senior games, but ticked the boxes as a small forward with his ball-winning, pressure and goal accuracy.

He ranked elite for F50 ground ball gets and above average for contested and uncontested possessions, goals and forward half pressure points.

 

Sam Walsh is ranked elite after only two seasons of football. Picture: Michael Klein
Sam Walsh is ranked elite after only two seasons of football. Picture: Michael Klein

 

COLLINGWOOD

 

Elite: Five - Jack Crisp, Jordan De Goey, Brayden Maynard, Mason Cox, Steele Sidebottom

 

The Magpies are one of five teams to boast the equal-highest number of elite-ranked players in the league with five.

Headlined by vice-captain Steele Sidebottom, who missed the team's 2020 finals campaign to return to Melbourne for the birth of his first child, and star forward Jordan De Goey, Collingwood's tally of A-graders is up from three in 2019.

Ruckman Brodie Grundy and captain Scott Pendlebury were ranked above average after being among the elite in 2019.

After an injury hit 2020 when he missed a chunk of games in the middle of the season with an injured finger, De Goey needs more time on the ground and could be pushing for more midfield time after the off-season departure of Adam Treloar.

 

 

ESSENDON

 

Elite: One - Jordan Ridley

 

The Bombers are among four teams to have just the one elite ranking on their list for 2021, down from two in 2019.

Ridley was a standout for the Bombers in 2020, winning the club's best-and-fairest award after emerging as one of the game's elite defenders - all with just 26 games to his name.

Before last season, Ridley had played only nine senior games for the Bombers.

Dylan Shiel and Zach Merrett were the Bombers' two elite players in 2019, but were rated above average last year.

After finishing 13th last year and losing key players at the trade table, the Bombers needed to enliven their list with future elite talent with three picks inside the top 10 in the national draft to kickstart a fresh era for new coach Ben Rutten.

 

FREMANTLE

 

Elite: One - Nat Fyfe

 

The dual Brownlow medallist is the Dockers' only A-lister from last season after Fremantle boasted four in 2019. Entering his 12th season with the Dockers, Fyfe averaged more than 21 disposals a game and kicked 10 goals for the season in 2020.

Problem for the Dockers is they need two Fyfe's - one in the midfield and one forward.

Coach Justin Longmuir last year flagged more forward time for Fyfe to allow Fremantle's young midfielder the chance to grow, but can the Dockers afford to take him out of the engine room?

The Dockers also have six players with an above average rating, including best-and-fairest winner Luke Ryan, midfield young gun Adam Cerra and key forward Matt Taberner.

 

 

 

GEELONG

 

Elite: Four - Mark Blicavs, Tom Hawkins, Patrick Dangerfield, Sam Menegola

 

As they booked their first Grand Final appearance since 2011, the Cats had four elite performers on their list last year, according to Champion Data.

Up from their three A-graders in 2019, Tom Hawkins' Coleman Medal-winning season earned him elite status alongside Mark Blicavs, Patrick Dangerfield and Sam Menegola.

The Cats have another seven above average players on their list this season.

The key for the Cats now is how boom recruit Jeremy Cameron, whose ranking has slipped from elite in 2019 to above average in a 24-goal season last year, fits into the forward mix.

 

Patrick Dangerfield is one of a plethora of Cats stars. Picture: Sarah Reed
Patrick Dangerfield is one of a plethora of Cats stars. Picture: Sarah Reed

 

GOLD COAST

 

Elite: Two - Sam Collins, Matt Rowell

 

The Gold Coast Suns had only one player with an elite ranking in 2019 - Jarrod Witts, but scored two last season.

Defender Sam Collins, who has an elite ranking for intercept marks, earned his A-grade status after a stellar season in which he claimed the club's best and fairest award.

Midfield young gun Matt Rowell sneaks in under Champion Data's criteria of a minimum of five games played after his barnstorming start to his debut season before he was struck down with a shoulder injury.

It will be exciting to see what he can do in an unhindered season.

The Suns also have nine more players with an above average rating, including Izak Rankine and Jack Lukosius.

 

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY

 

Elite: One - Harry Perryman

 

The Giants boasted five A-graders in 2019, but midfielder Harry Perryman is now the only player to make the grade after the Giants missed the finals last year. Josh Kelly, Lachie Whitfield, Stephen Coniglio and the now departed Zac Williams and Jeremy Cameron all boasted an elite ranking in 2019.

Kelly and Whitfield are among eight players on the Giants' list this year, including Toby Greene, to hold an above average rating.

 

 

 

 

HAWTHORN

 

Elite: Five: Luke Breust, Chad Wingard, James Sicily, Ben McEvoy, Jack Gunston

 

Despite Hawthorn finishing 15th on the ladder, the Hawks are among the five clubs to boast the equal-highest number of players with an elite ranking on their list.

The Hawks are up from two A-graders in 2019 to five with Luke Breust, Chad Wingard, James Sicily, Ben McEvoy and Jack Gunston owning an elite status this year.

Ruckman McEvoy was the only player to retain his status from 2019.

The Hawks also have another five players on the above average scale, including midfield star Tom Mitchell.

After a challenging off-season, the Hawks will need their A-graders to come to the party if they are to make a push back up the ladder and enhance their overall depth.

 

Jack Gunston is showing no signs of slowing down. Picture: AAP Image/Michael Dodge
Jack Gunston is showing no signs of slowing down. Picture: AAP Image/Michael Dodge

 

MELBOURNE

 

Elite: Three - Christian Petracca, Clayton Oliver, Max Gawn

 

The Demons' number of players with an elite ranking jumped from two in 2019 to three on their list this year.

Star ruckman Max Gawn and midfielder Clayton Oliver retain their A-list status and have been joined by Christian Petracca after his standout season, in which he claimed the club's best-and-fairest award.

Five more players, including defenders Steven May, Jake Lever and former captain Jack Viney, are ranked above average.

The Demons lack of high-ranking forwards underlines the club's decision to recruit former North Melbourne forward Ben Brown.

 

 

 

NORTH MELBOURNE

 

Elite: One - Todd Goldstein

 

The Kangaroos had three players with an elite ranking in 2019, but ruckman Todd Goldstein is the only player on the list to make the cut after a difficult 2020.

Goldstein held an elite ranking in the league for disposals, handballs and total clearances last season. Of the Roos' other two 2019 A-graders, Shaun Higgins has moved to Geelong and Ben Cunnington battled back injury last year.

The Kangaroos have five more players with an above average ranking, headlined by 2020 best-and-fairest winner Luke McDonald.

 

Todd Goldstein remains North Melbourne’s number one player. Picture: Michael Klein
Todd Goldstein remains North Melbourne’s number one player. Picture: Michael Klein

 

PORT ADELAIDE

 

Elite: Four - Robbie Gray, Steven Motlop, Zak Butters, Charlie Dixon

 

The 2020 minor premiers had four elite players on their list in 2019 and have retained the same number heading into this season.

Robbie Gray kept his elite status and has been joined by Steven Motlop, Zak Butters and Charlie Dixon.

Motlop ranks among the elite in the league for shot at goal accuracy and score assists.

The Power also have another eight players with an above average ranking, including Travis Boak, Ollie Wines and Connor Rozee, giving the Power arguably the most scope to have more players in the elite bracket by season's end.

 

 

 

RICHMOND

 

Elite: Three - Nick Vlastuin, Shane Edwards, Dustin Martin

 

Despite claiming their third premiership in four years, the Tigers have just the three players with an elite ranking, two less than the equal league high of five.

Adding further weight - and proof - to the adage a champion team can beat a team of champions. Superstar Dustin Martin not surprisingly retains his elite status, alongside Nick Vlastuin and Shane Edwards.

Martin and Edwards were among the Tigers' three players with an elite ranking in 2019 with Dion Prestia.

Champion Data has eight other players on the Tigers' list with an above average ranking, led by Jack Riewoldt and Tom Lynch.

 

Dustin Martin is one of the top players in the AFL, let alone at Tigerland. Picture: Sarah Reed
Dustin Martin is one of the top players in the AFL, let alone at Tigerland. Picture: Sarah Reed

 

ST KILDA

 

Elite: Two - Dan Butler, Jack Steele

 

As they stormed into their first finals series since 2011, the Saints had two players earn elite status - former Tiger Dan Butler and the club's best-and-fairest winner Jack Steele.

Steele had an elite ranking last year for tackles and total clearances, while Butler was also ranked elite for tackles and goals - with 29 for the season.

The Saints had three A-listers in 2019 - Rowan Marshall, Luke Dunstan and Sebastian Ross. Another five players scored an above average ranking.

The lack of elite talent had been an issue for the Saints and the question remains - do they have enough A-graders - or those that can potentially make the leap - to go the extra yard in the finals?

 

 

 

SYDNEY

 

Elite: Three - Jake Lloyd, Isaac Heeney, Dane Rampe

 

The Swans had three players with an elite ranking on their list in 2019 and have the same again heading into season 2021.

Dane Rampe retains his A-grade status and is joined by 2020 best-and-fairest winner Jake Lloyd and Isaac Heeney.

Josh Kennedy and Luke Parker's ranking slipped from their elite status in 2019.

Parker, however, was among the Swans' seven other players with an above average ranking.

 

WEST COAST

 

Elite: Five - Liam Ryan, Jeremy McGovern, Jack Darling, Oscar Allen, Nic Naitanui

 

The Eagles are among the five clubs to boast the equal-highest number of players with an elite ranking.

Up from their three A-graders in 2019, the Eagles have five players with an elite status on their list heading into season 2021 - star ruckman Nic Naitanui, forward flyer Liam Ryan, Jeremy McGovern, Jack Darling and Oscar Allen.

McGovern was the only player to retain his elite ranking from 2019.

The Eagles have six more players ranked above average.

 

 

 

WESTERN BULLDOGS

 

Elite: Five - Caleb Daniel, Bailey Williams, Marcus Bontempelli, Josh Dunkley, Lachie Hunter

 

The Bulldogs also have an equal league-high number of players with an elite status heading into season 2021, up from three in 2019.

Skipper Marcus Bontempelli and Josh Dunkley retain their elite ranking and have been joined on the A-grade list by Caleb Daniel, Bailey Williams and Lachie Hunter.

Jack Macrae's rating slipped from 2019 and is one of seven Bulldogs players with an above average ranking.

It took the talent-laden Hawks four years to get back to a Grand Final after the 2008 flag and the time is now for the Bulldogs to capitalise on their elite and depth of talent.

Originally published as Revealed: Every A-grader at your AFL club



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